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India media hails Oscar glories

Indian newspaper coverage of Slumdog Millionaire win
Indian papers have specially praised AR Rahman's success

Newspapers in India have hailed the success of Slumdog Millionaire, its composer AR Rahman and the documentary Smile Pinki at the Oscars on Monday.

Rahman won two Oscars, best original score and best original song - Jai Ho - with fellow Indian Gulzar.

Resul Pookutty bagged another award for sound mixing of the rags-to-riches Mumbai movie, which also won best picture and best director.

Smile Pinki, about an Indian girl with a cleft-lip won best short documentary.

The success of Slumdog sparked massive celebrations back in India.

The Oscar wins made front page news in all the newspapers, with special praise for AR Rahman, who is a cult music composer in India.

The film has brought willy-nilly the 'Bollywood' language into mainstream world cinema
Hindustan Times

Slumgod, headlined The Indian Express.

"Like it or not, you have to have been swayed by its anthem song, Jai Ho. And whether or not this prepares the ground for an Indian original to cross over, there had to have been misty eyed moments when AR Rahman took his bow," the newspaper said in an editorial.

Writing in the same paper, critic Sandipan Deb said that though India should "really rejoice for the six children" who acted in Slumdog and for composer AR Rahman, "it's a bit too much if we take this as a victory for Indian cinema".

"It's a non-Indian film which happened to have an all-Indian cast. We shoot entire films abroad nowadays, especially in the US, remember?".

'Triumph of hope'

India Breaks Sound Barrier headlinedThe Times of India, alluding to the success of Rahman's music and Resul Pookuty's sound mixing awards.

"You know India has arrived when everybody in Hollywood's Kodak Theatre - from Brad Pitt to Kate Winslet, Steven Spielberg to Meryl Streep - move to the beat of Jai Ho," the newspaper wrote.

Celebrations over AR Rahman's win in Chennai, India
There were widespread celebrations in India over the film's win

The newspaper said that India "justifiably has much to celebrate about Slumdog's night of Oscar glory".

"Three Indians have won individual Academy honours this year, and that's a tremendous achievement."

The newspaper said that "for all its problems, India is a multicultural experiment that works".

"Just take a look at the Indians who won Oscar accolades this year -they follow different religions. But they accepted the honours as Indians, on our behalf, and dedicated their wins to us".

The Hindu newspaper called the film's success as a "triumph of hope".

The newspaper said that though Slumdog was made by a British director and funded by a European company, "it is seen by many at home as an Indian film".

'Curious amalgam'

The newspaper pointed out that unlike Richard Attenborough's Gandhi - the film won eight Oscars - the cast of Slumdog was "almost entirely Indian".

Also, it said, "the style that permeates the film is a curious amalgam - one that represents a true cinematic union between Hollywood and Bollywood".

The Hindu said that "India impacted on this year's Oscars in another way, and one that deserves special mention: the best documentary award to Smile Pinki".

Hindustan Times said that Slumdog was a "great exhilarating film that has brought willy-nilly the 'Bollywood' language into mainstream world cinema".

"What better way for us to be flattered than when a foreign film hits Oscar gold by going down our 'filmy' path?"

Smile Pinki poster
Smile Pinki is the story of a girl with a cleft lip

But, in an editorial page piece in the same newspaper, critic Indrajit Hazra wondered whether Slumdog was really an 'Indian' film.

"If there's any 'national' aspect to the Slumdog Millionaire mega-haul it is that of AR Rahman winning two Oscars - not because he is an Indian national, but because, through the score of the movie and the two songs he has been able to bring the contemporary Hindi film sound into the international mainstream," he wrote.

"The rest, as they don't say enough, is nationalistic poppycock."

Slumdog Is Top Dog, headlined Mail Today

The newspaper said Rahman's awards proved that the composer's music has "gone beyond India, and is part of the global mainstream, something incredibly creative and human, and something very personal, linked to his genius".

The Economic Times said it was a "Bollywood show at the Oscars, as a group of kids walked the red carpet and won a million hearts".

AR Rahman told DNA newspaper that the Oscars would help Indian talent.

"I think it's a great bridge .. it is the starting point for Bollywood and Indian talent. Americans [earlier] had an aversion to any other culture."

"Now we are probably making our culture more acceptable, we are setting a trend .. I loved the way the kids came in [the Slumdog child actors walking the ramp].. it was so moving."



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